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Take Your Boys To See The Barbie Movie

  • Michael 

Now that I’m living in a house full of females, I’m having a much more difficult time asserting my male dominance. Zachary has abandoned me for university, and I’m left here, alone, with a house full of girls! And now I have no one to watch WWE, MMA or go to the monster truck rally with me. Instead, I went to see the Barbie movie.

A Full House, Again

During our couple of weeks of summer vacation, as part of the lazy, crazy, relaxing, chaotic time off work, we went back and forth several times between Quadra Island and home. There were dance commitments, Zachary flying to Ontario, and International students arriving. Yes, we have two new additions to our household for at least part of the school year.

see the barbie movie- last mean before Zach heads to university
Preparing to enjoy a last meal of Mac ‘n Cheese with our new students before Zach leaves

Because we no longer have a son living with us, we can’t have boy students. Not when you just have a daughter living at home. Got to be careful with all those raging hormones! So we’ve welcomed two lovely girls, from Brazil and Germany, into our home. And that means our boy cat, Keeley, and I are outnumbered.

Luckily I have some experience living with females. I rented a five bedroom house in Vancouver back in the 90’s. Four of those bedrooms were occupied by women. And only one of those women was certifiably insane, so I was able to survive the experience relatively unscathed.

One of the ways I was able to survive was leaving the house for extended periods every month. Because I learned that, sometimes, women’s menstrual cycles synched if they lived together. Urban myth? Why take that chance? I figured that was the time to get out of Dodge.

So, what’s all this got to do with taking your boys to see the Barbie movie? Plenty!

Patriarchy? What Patriarchy?

I had already heard plenty of buzz around the Barbie movie, so I was interested to see it. Heather and Beth-Rose had already seen it, and wanted to see it again. But I put off going since I don’t own anything pink. But once our new students were here, ALL the ladies of the house decided it was time. So off we went, the five of us. Four females and me. And I still didn’t have anything pink…

The movie is hilarious. Casting for the roles was perfect. Ryan Gosling as Ken was brilliant. In many ways, I think he stole the film. Between his sad looks and petulant tantrums, he conveyed the challenges of being male arm candy to Barbie. (yeah, like I know what I’m talking about…)

But while the movie is filled with brilliant comedic moments, and some truly genius dance sequences, there’s that not-so-underlying message of the misogynistic patriarchy that often dominates our real-world lives. Barbie comes face to face with this reality when she leaves her perfect, matriarchal homeland of Barbieland for the real world, with her boyfriend Ken tagging along.

Barbie struggles with the ways women are treated in the real world, while Ken is in Heaven. He discovers a world where men are the top dogs, and he embarks on a patriarchy-inspired makeover, to the detriment, and horror, of Barbie. How many times can you say “brewski beer”?

See The Barbie Movie, Not A Girl Movie

The messages are strong in Barbie, but they’re delivered with sensitivity and humour. The tongue in cheek scene between Barbie and the Mattel board of directors is on point and hilarious. Indeed, the patriarchy is alive and well, and everywhere.

Barbie is not a girl’s movie. It’s not a two hour commercial for a plastic toy. And it’s not “anti-men”, despite what grumpy, old, out of touch comedians like Bill Maher think.

Frankly, I’m amazed at the vehement criticism this movie has garnered from threatened conservative men and women. Most have completely missed the point of the movie, which is that, in an imperfect world, we all must find a way to accept everything about ourselves. For boys, and for girls, this can be a pretty good conversation starting point.

Photo courtesy APEX / MEGA

One scene that struck me; Barbie and Ken are rollerblading through Venice Beach, dressed in neon and spandex. People are catcalling, whistling, making loud comments. Barbie tells Ken she’s feeling self-conscious. But Ken is having a completely different experience. Happily he responds that he’s feeling “admired”.

Enter The Yahoos

Boys can learn a valuable lesson from this. So can grown men. Except the Ben Shapiros and Matt Gaetzes. I don’t think they’ll ever get it. Even Texas Senator Ted Cruz called the Barbie movie “Chinese Communist Propaganda”. Yes, he actually said that. Some of these yahoos are actually in positions of power. Others are just Ben Shapiro. Don’t know who he is? Consider yourself lucky and don’t Google him.

Rex Huppke, a very funny columnist with USA Today, wrote a terrific piece on the whackjobs criticizing the movie before they’ve even seen it. Go read it, you’ll have a chuckle.

Someone else had a great comment on whatever Twitter is called now; “I wasn’t going to see Barbie, but since it triggers conservative men so much, I think I am taking my daughter, Thanks, Ben Shapiro.”

See The Barbie Movie And Judge For Yourself

I’m happy I finally watched Barbie. I’m disappointed I don’t have anything pink to wear. Heather offered me a nice off the shoulder blouse, but it would have clashed with my outdated Dad style… So I went in my blue hoodie, and blended in with the tired upholstery of the theatre seats. But it didn’t matter. My wardrobe choice had no effect on my enjoyment.

So do yourself a favour and go see the movie. Even just for the sheer entertainment, you won’t be disappointed. The sets, the cinematography, the actors, and the pink! It’ll blow your mind. And if you have a son, or a brother, or a husband, take them as well. Hell, even better if they’re a conservative, patriarchal misogynist. For that you’ll want the large popcorn.

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